Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good Bye Florida....Goodbye 2008

I have made a commitment to letting go of the past, so I am not going to take up a bunch of space re-capping 2008. But, lets say that 2008 brought great change, great challenges, and great opportunities. It brought a physical move from MN to CA. It brought emotional moves of many types including the ending of one relationship and the beginning of another powerful and amazing one. It brought lots of travel to some old and familiar places and to some new and exciting places. It has brought opportunities to learn and grow, and it has brought the commission of mistakes--a very few repeated ones and some new ones and lots of ones from which I hope I have learned,. I wrote more in the second half of the year than I did in the previous year. I look forward to seeing what comes next.

I am currently saying goodbye to the ocean and to Ft. Lauderdale. It has been, even with the drama, an amazing vacation. Plus, I had lots of great sex with that man of man and perhaps a few others ;-). Actually, sitting next to David on NYE watching the last bits of sunlight fading away from 2008 is a fulfilled feeling that I am pleased to have. Thanks for reading. Happy New Year to you.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Sometimes healing starts when you unintentionally, through an expression of your own pain, hurt someone that you care about. I did that last night. Because of work I need to do to heal myself, I put my relationship at risk by not handling my emotions in the way I could have. The part that kills is that I caused pain, fear, confusion, and insecurity in someone that has been, for all purposes, a consummate source of love, strength, and patience in my life. Not all of the conflict from last night was mine to carry. But that which is mine to carry I am carrying heavily. It is also telling that although I have been forgiven for my knee jerk asinine behavior, I can't figure out how to forgive myself. It isn't as dramatic as it sounds, and then again, it really is. It's so dramatic it is comic. Poor Brandon...someone loves him enough to love him through his hurt. Self-pity is a damn shame.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Eve Eve Morning: A New Poem

This is the poem that I wrote for David for Christmas.

Christmas Eve Eve Morning

Lay thick on me
the scent of your rosebud
opening pinkly
rolled up eyes sighing
as you fully bloom
fertile ground in
seeds planted
for a love harvest

Lay hot on me
the cum smoke saltiness
of your cephalopod tongue
tasting lust buds
swollen headed
sliding down my eager throat
savor the wet love declarations
cock proclaimed

Lay hard on me
round bongo rhythms
piston playing jack off melodies
mouth shaping whole notes
while drum stick riding
composing rock & roll ballads to
the key of paradise city
already locked in

Lay soft on me
pearl white abstract paintings
graphics designed by matted chest hair
sweat based water colors
Mappelthorpe studies
100% organic materials
not harmful if swallowed

Lay last on me
post-coital sketches
made by trailing fingers
across shaved surfaces
over panting smiles
under kiss quieted emotives
beneath softening dicks
a gentle good morning.

-Brandon Lacy Campos
-Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Friday, December 26, 2008

Slammers Redux

Ummm scary and funny...after writing my blog this morning, I went to the beach with David and ran into Keith and Kyle from the Lost Sox.....all of us were on vacation completely separately in Ft. Lauderdale. My super secret power strikes again.

Slammers! YOU KNOW!

So, back home in Minneapolis I have the honor of belonging to a group of kick ass friends. These friends form the core of a softball team called the Slammers. The team is crazy. The people are crazy. And you know my black ass is crazy. So that all works out pretty well. This morning I was looking at my man in the shower and I said out loud, "GOOD MORN'TING!"

Now in SlammerSpeak, which draws heavily from the vocabulary of Tyler Perry and the Color Purple, Good Morn'ting is what you say when you see a fine ass man and you just want to climb on top of them and do things to make Jesus go back into his cave. My friend Isha Mae is also the kick ass and well known queer hip hop artist Tori Fixx. A year and a half ago he released a music video called Good Mornting. If you look closely, you can see a whole lot of the back of my neck in the video (I am the guy with the silver chain on)...and once you even see my profile. I am so famous.

Anyway, I am missing Isha this morning. Check out his video Good Mornting<. TRIM SPA BABY!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

This year has brought me great love and great growth. May the joy and peace of Christ fill all your lives and your hearts. May the love and happiness that is the birthright of all people of all nations swell your soul. May the road you walk be gentle and filled with beauty and the blessing of faith, strength, and moments of clarity. Thank you for sharing this life path with me.

To all my friends who are my family and to my family who are my friends and to my lover, friend, teacher, student, muse, and partner thank you for cutting a new path at my side through this life forest.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Living With HIV, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Style

Check out my new article at

This article was a bit of a personal bitch to write. I am open about my HIV status. More now that at any time in my life. But this is being REAL open. Like.....bend over and get doubled fisted open. Swollen anal lips and all.

Lord oh lord oh lord.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Good Morning Baltimore!

So, I just got back from a journey to Baltimore to see danceRINK's production of Alice in Wonderland. There was a great review of the show in the Baltimore Sun on Thursday. Choreographer Scott Rink put together a pretty amazing show. Just as amazing was the art created for the show by my boyfriend David Berube. Some of the choreographer was on the cliche side while other of it was inspired. Particularly fun and inventive was the choreography during the scene where Alice meets the Duchess and the transformation of the babe into the pig. The performance was set to an old recording of Alice in Wonderland starring Dinah Shore with additional score added by Scott Rink from older jazz era recordings.

David and I started a fledgling t-shirt business called Ocean Monkey Bottom T-shirts. The t-shirts were a hit. We sold almost 40 t-shirts at the four shows where we were present. Here is a picture of the dancer that played the Caterpillar wearing our Cheshire Cat Tee.

All in all it was a great trip. It was David and I's first adventure working closely together, and we fell into a natural rhythm. It was a good partnership. It is a good partnership.

While in Baltimore we checked out the Walters Museum. One of the traditions that David I have is to go to museums together. So far we have hit the Walker in Minneapolis, the Met in New York, and now the Walters in Baltimore. While touring the Walters, which is a smaller museum with a fantastic antiquities through 19th century collection, we came across a painting of the daughter of Duke Alessandro d'Medici. Please note that the little girl is obviously not white. Indeed, her father (1511-1537) was the son of a Medici Cardinal and an African serving girl. So, to spell it out, just as race based slavery was being developed in the Americas, the most powerful family in Europe at the time (the Medicis) embraced a black relative. The little girl in the photo is thought to be the first person of African descent depicted in European art.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One Liner of the Week Award--Shannon Lacy

This week I am extremely excited to give the One Liner of the Week Award to my little sister, Shannon Lacy of Virginia.

Today, I was talking to my sister. She was with my Dad at a museum on the base where my little sis is station. We were discussing my Father and his recent forays into Facebook Ho-dom. I mentioned to my sister that my Daddy's ho-like qualities is how he ended up with all these children in the first place..

My sister replied, "Yeah he got all these babies of all different spices. We should change our last name from Lacy to Lowry's."

That shit was hilarious...and is the One Liner of the Week.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Love, Demons, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer

This article was written for

Love----Buffy the Vampire Slayer Style

There are days when I feel like Buffy the Vampire Slayer except less blonde, with better legs, and no breasts. Nevertheless, there are days when I wake up and feel as if I spend my entire existence fighting demons, attempting to drive stakes through my internal craziness, and doing everything I can to keep the Seal of Darkness from opening and letting all hell break loose.

I am a black, Latino, Native, white, HIV positive, queer man coming off eight years of Bush and living in the worst recessions since the Great Depression. I grew up with a single mother. I watched her be physically abused, I survived mental and physical abuse and somehow I have made it into my early 30s. Did I mention that I am also a recovering meth addict, and my boyfriend lives in New York while I live in Oakland? When I say there are days I feel like Buffy. I am not exaggerating.

Moving and living in a world that has plenty of undead, ghouls, goblins, ghosts, skeletons in closets, skeletons buried in the back yard, and skeletons propped the hell up at the dinner table, is like living in an episode of that late much lauded icon of late 90s/early millennium pop culture. Buffy was a metaphor for modern society. And there are days when I run the gamut of characters. Sometimes I am sassy Willow with a spell or three for bitches that get in my way. Some days I am dumb ass Zander who wanders around wondering exactly what he is supposed to be doing and why he has no super powers. Other days I am Anya, a reformed addict trying to do right and not quite getting it right, and other times I am lame, annoying, whining Dawn----a supposed source of ultimate power that sits in the corner and bitches and moans until she inevitably gets kidnapped by some Hell Beast and has to be rescued by friends.

But most days I am Buffy, feeling as if I have been killed and resurrected on multiple occasions, wielding inner strength with a touch of Paradise lost, and trying my hardest to fight the good fight while really thinking about doing high kicks at the Homecoming game and going home to my husband, Freddie Prinze Junior, and doing some Cirque du Soleil gutterbutt Hugh Heifner shit that I can upload to Xtube when I’m finished.

Lately, I have been fighting the biggest, worst, nastiest stank ass of Satan’s Lieutenants…that succubus called Jealousy. That green eyed monster, so seductive, so cruel, spends so much time running in and around my mind that if I ever catch her, I am going to skin her alive with a rusty butter knife dipped in Ajax and then dribble hot bacon grease in the wounds.

I have a wonderful man. He is a little like Zander, but way sexier, much more brilliant, and with a much better boogina. Actually, he is nothing like Zander at all.

This man has spun my world upside down and inside out. With him, I feel like Tara and Willow during the Musical Episode of Buffy when they are flitting around, casting butterfly spells and serenading one another. He has opened up my eyes to myself, and cast a spell on me that has let me see my true reflection instead of looking through the eyes of the wounds that I have inflicted on myself and that were legacies of growing up where and when and how I did. He is my number one fan, and my number one critic. He is my Watcher that helps me keep the demons at bay.

Except for the ones that he stirs up.

He and I have an open relationship. Open as in, open right up and let that Jealousy bitch come right on in. Now, I know myself. Like Buffy, I am a ho. I would happily fuck a sexy vampire or two or have a threesome with a hung Hell Beast and Spike. I could do all that and know without a doubt that the Bacchanalia would have no impact on my thoughts, feelings, or love for my partner. Theoretically, I know that the same goes for him. Practically, when I know he has gone out and had sex with someone else, I want to find them both and drive a stake through their conjoined bodies. Unfortunately, human beings don’t burn up into piles of ash when you stick a sharpened Louisville slugger through their necks.

The disconnect between my brain and my heart (or wherever Jealousy happens to reside) is the greatest impact on our relationship right now. In general, we love and support each other like Anya and Zander before Zander left her high and dry at the altar in a room full of demons that had just fireballed in from Hell. I struggle each day to remember that his love for me is not diminished by the trick that may or may not have just left his house or job or theater or wherever he happens to be.

Living in this society as a gay Black man who truly believes in the multiplicity of loves and ways of loving but has survived so many psychic wounds is a mental juxtaposition that at times is paralyzing at best and at other times is whiny ass woe as me and let me be a crazy psycho jealous biznatch at worst. Self-examination and awareness is the first step in any sort of recovery. But, if I become any more self aware, I may be forced to stake myself.

Learning to love through the demons, love past the skeletons, love around the ghouls, and love in spite of the goblins is one of the hardest adventures that this Buffy has ever had to undertake. But the alternative, laying down in a cold grave, alone, wandering the nights looking for a quick juicy fix, is not the road which I want to walk anymore. This Slayer is out to win the Final Battle. Oh my Goddess.

Monday, December 15, 2008

One Liner of the Week Award

This weeks award goes to DL Hughley, "Everyone got what they wanted for Christmas. The blacks got Obama, and the whites got O.J. Simpson."

Instant fucking classic.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Barack Obama Appoints Jesus to Cabinet: Final Draft

This was written for

Thanks to my editor Ericka Blount for making suggestions on how to expand this article!

Barack Obama Appoints Jesus to Cabinet

In a stunning news conference today in Chicago, Barack Obama announces the newest member of his cabinet: Jesus H. Christ.

When asked by reporters, “What would Jesus do?,” The President-elect made an appearance with Jesus at a press conference saying, “There has been wide-speculation, since the primary race, concerning my religious affiliation. Today, I am appointing Jesus Christ as Secretary of Metaphysical Affairs and White House Chaplain. It is my hope that with this appointment, rumors over my religious affiliation will be laid to rest.”

Jesus H. Christ, whose middle name is also Hussein, took a few questions from reporters, but refused to give the date of the Rapture, the Resurrection, or Armageddon. He did, however say, “It is a great honor to serve in this administration. Throughout the campaign. Mr. Obama prayed to me diligently. Sometimes I walked by his side. Sometimes I carried him. This cup is a much less bitter cup from which to drink.” He said, alluding to scripture and his brief conversation with his Father just before the crucifixion.

Immediately, there were strong reactions from both the right and the left. Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, said in a brief statement, “This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values. And it is an honor to have Christ serving in the West Wing.”

The ACLU immediately filed suit in Federal Court to block the appointment of Jesus. ACLU President Nadine Strossen released this strongly worded statement, “This is the most egregious violation of the separation of church and state that has ever been attempted. To have the Son of God serve in the White House is clearly unconstitutional. The Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves.”
Jesus would neither confirm nor deny whether or not, in fact, the Founding Fathers were indeed rolling over in their graves.
President-elect Obama responded, “Secretary Christ will serve as a spiritual advisor and as advisor on metaphysical affairs. I respect the diversity of religious faith in this nation. I do not advocate establishing a state religion. And, as such, I will be nominating the Buddha as Ambassador to India.”

The office of the Dalai Lama was contacted regarding the announcement of the Buddha as ambassador, but the Dalai Lama was not available for comment.

“In the end,” spoke President-elect Obama, “I hope this will lay to rest rumors that I am a Muslim. My Father was Muslim, but I was raised in a Christian household, in a Christian family, and I stand by my Christian faith. In fact, I am standing right next to Jesus Christ.” The President-elect put his arm around the Son of God for a photo opportunity.

In further remarks Jesus said, “I hope, also, this will clear up a few things. To begin with, I am, indeed Black.”

Reverend Jeremiah Wright, responded, “I always knew Jesus was a black man. And now it is confirmed. Praise God. Praise God.”

Black churches across America held spontaneous prayer services that seemed more like Freaknik than worship and praise.

White conservative Christians were less enthusiastic. Indeed, shortly after Mr. Obama’s announcement and press conference, President of the all white executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, Pastor Johnny M. Hunt, announced his imminent conversion to Judaism and a vote of the Convention for a massive general mikvah---the the Jewish ceremonial bath during which one becomes a Jew.

Pastor Hunt commenting from his home church, soon to be synagogue, in Woodstock, Georgia, said, “Obviously, for the last 154 years, the Baptist Convention has gotten it wrong. The Jews are right. The Messiah is yet to come. Shalom brothers and sisters, Shalom.”

Jesus continued his question and answer session by stating, “As Secretary of Metaphysical Affairs and White House Chaplain, I will be investigating the use of my name in vain. In particular, I will be making personal appearances at sporting championships and other public events were overpaid athletes and Oscar award winners thank me while at the same time doing work that has nothing to do with me. My eye is on the sparrow. It is also on Michael Vick.”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences could not be reached for comment.

“Pardon my French, but you all have been messing up big time. Iraq, Afghanistan, segregation, environmental degradation,” Jesus continued, clearly agitated “I let them hammer my ass to a piece of wood for ya’ll. Don’t make me take off my belt.” His words were punctuated by thunder and lightening, inside the Presidential Transition Office and, at the same time, word reached President-elect Obama that a massive flood had just taken out the town of Woodstock, Georgia.

Jesus Christ closed the press conference by saying, “Let us bow our heads for Pastor Hunt and the people of Woodstock, Georgia. In my name we pray. Amen.”

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Barack Obama Appoints Jesus to Cabinet

(This article was written for )

In a stunning news conference today in Chicago, Barack Obama announces the newest member of his cabinet: Jesus H. Christ.

The President-elect made an appearance with Jesus at a press conference saying, “There has been wide-speculation, since the primary race, concerning my religious affiliation. Today, I am appointing Jesus Christ as Secretary of Metaphysical Affairs and White House Chaplain. It is my hope that with this appointment, rumors over my religious affiliation will be laid to rest.”

Jesus H. Christ, whose middle name is also Hussein, took a few questions from reporters, but refused to give the date of the Rapture, the Resurrection, or Armageddon. He did, however say, “It is a great honor to serve in this administration. Throughout the campaign. Mr. Obama prayed to me diligently. Sometimes I walked by his side. Sometimes I carried him. This cup is a much less bitter cup from which to drink.” He said, alluding to scripture and his brief conversation with his Father just before the crucifixion.

Immediately, there were strong reactions from both the right and the left. Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, said in a brief statement, “This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values. And it is an honor to have Christ serving in the West Wing.”

The ACLU immediately filed suite in Federal Court to block the appointment of Jesus. ACLU President Nadine Strossen released this strongly worded statement, “This is the most egregious violation of the separation of church and state that has ever been attempted. To have the Son of God serve in the White House is clearly unconstitutional. The Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves.”

Jesus would neither confirm nor deny whether or not, in fact, the Founding Fathers were indeed rolling over in their graves.

President-elect Obama responded, “Secretary Christ will serve as a spiritual advisor and as advisor on metaphysical affairs. I respect the diversity of religious faith in this nation. I do not advocate establishing a state religion. And, as such, I will be nominating the Buddha as Ambassador to India.”

The office of the Dalai Lama was contacted regarding the announcement of the Buddha as ambassador, but the Dalai Lama was not available for comment.

“In the end,” spoke President-elect Obama, “I hope this will lay to rest rumors that I am a Muslim. My Father was Muslim, but I was raised in a Christian household, in a Christian family, and I stand by my Christian faith. In fact, I am standing right next to Jesus Christ.” The President-elect put his arm around the Way and the Life for a photo opportunity.

In further remarks Jesus said, “I hope, also, this will clear up a few things. To begin with, I am, indeed Black.”

Reverend Jeremy Wright, responded, “I always knew Jesus was a black man. And now it is confirmed. Praise God. Praise God.”

Friday, December 12, 2008

Support the Family of Jose Sucuzhanay

Please support the family of Jose Sucuzhanay, a victim of an
anti-immigrant and anti-gay hate crime.

On Sunday morning at around 3:30 a.m. 2 Ecuadorian brothers were walking on Kossuth Place and Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn when approached by 4 black males who exited a vehicle. It is believed that while walking arm in arm, the perpetrator believed the brothers were gay. After a few minutes witnesses heard the word "faggot" and saw 31 year old, Jose Sucuzhanay get hit over the head with a bottle, and fall to the ground. After falling to the ground, his brother ran off to get help but the suspects continue to beat on the victim by kicking him and hitting him with a bat about his head. Witnesses also heard them refer to the victim as "You fucking Spanish Faggot."

On Tuesday December 9th, in the afternoon Jose Sucuzhanay was pronounced dead due to massive trauma to the head.

The S.O.S. Collective recognizes that this is time of financial struggle but we ask folks to support the family of Jose Sucuzhanay in whatever capacity you can. We suggest that folks donate money, write letters or cards of sympathy and support to the family. The Audre Lorde Project will be open to accepting cash and money order donations, cards, or letters Monday through Friday from 12 to 6 PM. As soon as we find out who you can address checks to, we will let you know. You may also feel free to mail any donations to ALP.

Audre Lorde Poject
Attn: Ejeris Dixion
Safe OUTside the System Collective
85 South Oxford Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

S.O.S. Collective will be collecting any donations until Tuesday December, 23. Your funds and support will be greatly appreciated and I personally want to thank you for opening up your hearts and wallet, to such a tragic situation.

Take care,
Veronica Tirado

Safe OUTside the System Collective
Ejeris Dixion
Program Coordinator
718.596.0342 ext. 22
718.596.1328 (fax)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hey folks:

I am now a regular contributor at Please show your support and love by tuning into the website. If you read something you like, please leave comments.

Here is the link to my latest article:

Thanks to your support three of my last four articles have been the most read in their categories for multiple days in a row! Your support translates into more exposure for my writing. Thank you so much.

One love,

Monday, December 8, 2008

One Liner of the Week Award

This is a first for the One Liner of the Week Award. In the past, the award has always gone to someone that has said something witty in my presence. But, today, I was reading a review of Cadillac Records by writer Jimi Izrael, and I came across a line that screamed One Liner of the Week.

Jimi Izrael said, "Jeffrey Wright could steal a puppet show from Kermit the Fucking Frog."

This was in reference to Mr. Wright's role in the movie. I personally believe that Jeffrey Wright is perhaps the finest actor walking the planet right now. So I can't wait to see this movie.

Vision Statement

I commit myself to living differently. I will forgive myself, ask for forgiveness of those I have wronged, and forgive others. I will see myself, not as the world would have me been seen or how others have told me that I am, but as I was meant to be seen with loving kindness. I will do no harm to others with intention, and those I harm unintentionally, I will seek to make well. I will speak as truthfully and honestly as I can. I will trust openly. I will only make commitments that I can keep. I will keep the commitments I make. I will be imperfect, and I will love myself through my imperfections. I will be successful, and I will use success to fulfill my vision. I will give to those that ask, and I will save enough to sustain myself. I will honor my debts both human and material. I will be a good lover, a strong partner, and a devoted friend. I will love myself. I will love truly. I commit myself to love.

Friday, December 5, 2008

GREENS Report: Black Folks Thrive During Recession

Shocking Numbers Show African-American Community Thriving During Recession

A report issued today by the General Roundtable on the Economic Encouragement of Negros (GREENS) stated that, “Due to the overwhelming impact of the collapsed credit market, the dissolution of the banking and finance sectors, and now the impending implosion of the domestic auto industry, blacks, who have a four hundred year history of making due with next to nothing, are finding their survival skills are now in high demand.”

In Oakland, California, one Soul Food Cooking School instructor noted that class enrollment is an all time high. Miss Betty Collards, head of the school told, “I ain’t never seen this many white folks sign up for classes. Now that they can only afford neckbones and beans, they’ve discovered they don’t know what to do with them.”

Miss Collards, who also participated in the GREENS study, said that all of her friends and neighbors with kitchen hair salons, black market cd businesses, and hand car washes are thriving during this downturn. In fact, several community entrepreneurs have set up a Survival School for the Formerly Wealthy.

“I am in charge of the Make Due with Less curriculum, while my husband, who was a mortgage broker with Wells Fargo until recently, is running our budgeting and financial management program: Paycheck to Paycheck, How to Make that Dollar Stretch,” said Miss Collards.

The GREENS institute study determined that even at the times when the U.S. economy is thriving, the massive wealth and affluence, still largely based on the enormous wealth created by slave labor and continued on low wage labor performed by blacks, Latinos, immigrants and poor whites, does not reach the hardest hit. The study concluded that even when the economy is roaring, most of the black community lives in recession.

Miss Collards commented that, “I don’t need a study to tell me that when those white folks that started Facebook and other dot coms and stuff were making their billions that didn’t mean a damn thing for working class black folks. As a matter of fact, real incomes for black folks declined in the late 1990s when America was at the height of its so-called boom.”

She concluded with, “Boom. Boom my ass. Boom is the sound that those white folks jaws made when they saw the big board at the stock exchange this morning.”

Already, the GREENS study found, President-elect Barack Obama is being called on to clean up the mess created by his soon to be predecessor. And the white folks in charge are getting antsy. Barack Obama has largely stayed hands off asserting that there can be only one President at a time. An assertion that holds water.

But, House Banking and Finance Committee Chairperson, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) has been all up in the President-elect’s kool aid calling on him to take a more active role in solving the financial crisis.

The GREENS study found that Representative Frank should shut the hell up and sit down as the President-elect can only participate in negotiations, but his power to enact change is rightfully limited until January 20, 2009 when he becomes president.

In the end, the GREENS report concluded that the African-American community will weather this recession with the same creativity, passion, and hamhocks that has kept it solvent for the last 400 years.

“Times are always at or near rough for our people. But love, community, and some black eyed peas go a long way to making things alright,” quipped Miss Betty Collards.

The GREENS report agreed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Black and Red Thanksgiving

This article was written for

A Black and Red Thanksgiving

This time of year always fills me with deep contradictions. To be blunt, Thanksgiving, in its purest form, is a celebration of the eventual subjugation, domination, and massacre of millions of indigenous people of this land. As a man who is a proud member of the Ojibwe nation, I viscerally feel disgust at the roots of this holiday and all it represents to those that carry the burden of history.

As a person descended from slaves, who still has family in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, the place where my family was held in bondage, I was taught that Thanksgiving was a time to celebrate our freedom and the strength of family and community that got us through and brought us over. Thanksgiving is the celebration of our metaphorical crossing of the River Jordan or, perhaps, the Ohio River.

The truth is that Thanksgiving should be a time where we honor the spirits of those living and dead that fought, bled, and died so that our communities could survive. It is a time to gather around us our friends and family and to show them through words, food, and laughter that we appreciate their presence and their love. But it is also a time of obligation.

No two peoples living on this land known as the United States of America have such a tragic and intertwined history as African-Americans and Native Americans. Throughout our shared history of enslavement and genocide, forced labor and forceable removal from our homelands, our fates have touched one anothers: sometimes in acts of solidarity such as the taking in of runaway slaves by the Cherokee and Seminole and other native nations, and sometimes in acts of violence where slaves served with continental armies participating in the massacre of indigenous communities and indigenous communities that served whites as slave catchers.

Since the end of slavery, the relationship between African-Americans and Native Americans has,again, sometimes been one of solidarity such as the brown/black power movements of the 1960s and sometimes one of betrayal, such as the stripping of citizenship from black members of the western Cherokee Nation earlier this year.

Yet the truth remains that at this time of profound social change opportunity, leaders of the African-American community and leaders of both urban Indian and Indian nations should be working together on common goals related to sovreignity, reperations, and reclamation. At times the survival of entire segments of the black community have depended on our native brothers and sisters. That history was, intentionally, kept quiet by mainstream authorities. Divide and conquer has always been their primary tactic.

This Thanksgiving, I challenge our communities to committ to not only celebrating our freedom and our family but also developing strategies to build deep relationships with our native kin. In Humboldt County, California, a small grassroots collective called Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County (DUHC) has partnered with the Seventh Generation Fund on a relatively new project called the Honor Tax. The two organizations are working closely with small businesses, non-profit organizations, and individual citizens encouraging them to make a yearly tax payment to the Wiyot Nation. The nation on whose lands Humboldt County sits. This is not a charitable contribution but a tax payment acknowledging that the land itself is not owned by those who sit on it but by the peoples that historically belong to it.

These are the types of endeavours that should be championed by people of African descent. If we, the grandchildren of those held in bondage, are to righteously, and justly, demand reparations in recognition of the trillions of dollars of wealth created from our unpaid labor, then it is our moral and civil obligation to advocate for at least as much for the indigenous peoples of the United States. In the end, it is my hope that one day all of this land will be restored to those from whom it was taken, but until that day comes, it is our duty to work hand in hand to hold up and restore each other as we collectively move towards a just and liberated future. Let's transform Thanksgiving into a holiday of thanks for each other and an opportunity to create new river crossings on black and red bridges.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One Liner of the Week Award: Mervyn Marcano

Yesterday morning, Merv and I sat on some rocking chairs outside of the Cypress Creek dining hall as the sun was coming up. I looked over and pointed to the pinkening clouds and said, "Hey Merv, looks like the sun is coming up today."

Mervyn, who was channeling an antebellum plantation owner's wife turned to me and said, with a southern drawl, "If God would have it, I would like it."

And for this witty response, Mervyn is awarded the One Liner of the Week Award.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Media Justice Leadership Institute Part One

The day started off with a quick breakfast meeting to go over final logistics for the arrival of the Media Action Grassroots Action Network members (MAG-Net). It was quickly followed by a basic yoga class followed by an 80 minutes deep tissue massage. This is how I started the first day of the Media Justice Leadership Institute.

For the last three months, since starting at CMJ, I have been working with Malkia to put together the first national institute focused on the building, expanding, and deepening grassroots media justice leadership.

The list of attendees are probably people of whom you have never but are people to whom you owe a great deal. These are the people who fight every day against the negative images and portrayals of young people, queer folks, people of color, and women on your local tv station, on the radio, and in the papers. These are folks who understand that without a media that tells OUR stories, we will never achieve racial and economic justice.

The Media Justice movement is in its infancy, but MAG-Net and the people that make up MAG-Net are doing the work in our own communities to foment a direct challenge to corporate controlled media and corporate retelling of our lives and our stories.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Divide and Conquer: Prop 8 As A Black/Queer Wedge

This article was written for

Obama’s election victory is less than two weeks old, yet already the divide and conquer tactics of the Right are in full effect. Though Obama’s election was a great victory, there were some significant losses on November 4th, particularly the queer community. The passage of Prop 8 limiting marriage to one man and one woman in California, the country’s most populous state, was a sad defeat. It was a loss created very simply by a largely complacent organizing model by the left and a massively funded, exquisitely organized campaign by the Right that cut across political, religious, and racial lines. Unfortunately, instead of the Left looking at the passage of Prop 8 as an opportunity to evaluate our organizing tactics and learn from the loss while exploring alternative avenues to stop implementation of the proposition, a vitriolic attack on the Black community has ensued.

At a time when the Left should be uniting, a line is being drawn between Black and queer communities leaving black queer folks invisible and creating wedges that could be long lasting. The truth is that many African-Americans in California did vote for Prop 8. Some statistics say that as many as 69% (plus or minus the margin of error) voted for the proposition. While that is a small t truth, the big T truth is that from the beginning of the Prop 8 battle, the religious right and other pro-8 organizers beat the streets of black neighborhoods, used black faces front and center in their organizing strategies, and made immediate overtures to black faith leaders and in black churches. Not until the 11th hour, when the polls began showing a sharp turn in favor of prop 8’s passage, did the Left realize it had been out maneuvered. Although there were a few, small LGBT people of color organizations participating in the No On 8 coalition, the No On 8 campaign was largely organized and sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign (an organization with a notorious history of racial exclusion in its operations and political priorities) and other white-led LGBT organizations, it is not surprising that communities of color were an after thought in the organizing strategy around the No On 8 campaign.

Unfortunately, in California newspapers, and in papers across the country, this is being touted as an issue of homophobia in the Black community. Our loss, and I include myself as a Prop 8 opponent, was not due to some inherent homophobia in the black community, our loss was a failure of our community to organize itself. The separation, marginalization, and exclusion of communities of color, particularly black communities from the leadership of national and state level LGBT organizations continues the image of queerness being equal to whiteness and fails to allow communities of color to see their own queer children as part of themselves.

As we move into an Obama-era in this country. It is imperative that we recognize the tactics that will be used against the Left in order to destabilize the broad coalition of LGBT people, women, working class folks, and communities of color that put Obama into office. The amazing national backlash against Prop 8 is heartening, in that it is a galvanizing force that will keep the coalitional politics of the Obama campaign alive---if we do the work to keep it alive. That means that we can not scapegoat the Black community for our failure. Be angry. Be disappointed. Be angry and disappointed that the Right got to our people and our communities with disinformation and lies. Be angry at the outcome but do not slip into race baiting generalizations that do no good and create long lasting harm not only to queer-black relationships but also to the relationship of black queers to the rest of the black community.

To be clear, I am not absolving the overwhelming majority of Black voters that went to the polls and betrayed their brothers and sisters, children, grandmothers and grandfathers, cousins and friends. How quickly our community forgets that it was only 40 years ago that interracial marriages were illegal in large swaths of the country. They said that love between whites and blacks was unnatural, un-Biblical, and wrong. The same arguments used against LGBT folks getting married just different versus from the Bible used to justify intolerance and injustice. But the black community was no more and no less culpable as an entity than any of the other millions of people that went to the polls that day and voted for injustice. Black folks should know better.

If we want to see ourselves as a mature movement, then we must accept responsibility for the passage of Proposition 8 as a collective failure. Acknowledge the failure, mourn the loss, and then do the work to figure out how to move forward towards victory. Accepting defeat and accepting responsibility for defeat is the only way that we can avoid falling into the base dividing pitfalls of the Right. It is time for a national leftist humility. By looking closely and critically at the real reasons that Prop 8 passed, we can learn, grow, and make sure that next time around we are knocking on the right doors, broadening our coalitions, and laying the foundation for sustainable progressive social change. To have a revolution means to revolve to go back to or to change back the collective will. I am not interested in a revolution. I am interested in an evolution. A moving forward. An advancement of the will. It’s time to move towards a just society that says no not only to Prop 8 but also to race baiting, racism, and the divide and conquer tactics championed by the right. Yes We Can.

The Difference Between Social Work and Social Justice

I got this email from my friend Noodle today. She is one of my oldest friends, a brilliant writer, and a loving Mom. She is my fam in every sense of the word.

"I love reading your blog.

I was listening to Julian Bond a few weeks ago...he was speaking at St. Johns some award. Anyway, the speech was on MPR.
He was talking about the difference between Social Service and Social Justice work. He was saying that he was a bit disappointed in young people today because, even though they are getting out and doing social service, they are not doing social justice work. He was saying the social service work is fun and there is immediate, instant gratification...that's why young people are drawn to it. But social justice work is grueling and tedious and you never get a thank you and sometimes it takes a generation or more to see any change.
I thought of you. You are doing Social Justice work and it's all on the hard-to-do pile, but you do it and I'm saying Thank You for all the people whose lives you are helping to change who just don't even know how to say thanks!"

Thank you Noodle for 17 years of friendship, love, and support.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Responsibility of Hope

This article appeared today as the first of my weekly contributions to the online magazine, Thank you to Taylour "Little Chicken" Johnson for helping with the editing of this article.

Without a doubt, Tuesday, November 4, 2008 will become a date that is memorized by students across the United States, and in the world, as a great day in human history. It will be marked as a day when the most powerful, and arguably the most racist, nation in world history elected a person of African descent, the most vulnerable and exploited people in history, to lead itself.

But the election of Barack Obama does not change the fact that this country was built on the backs of African peoples. His election does not change that this nation continues to thrive and survive on the stolen and undervalued labor of people of color, particularly black folks, immigrants, and the unpaid labor of women in our homes. His election does not change the fact that America is an occupying power and continues to practice colonial rule at a time when even the old European colonial powers have largely recognized the fiscal, political, and metaphysical drain that pulls on perpetual colonizers.

Now that Senator Obama is President-elect Obama, he holds a unique responsibility to not only speak a rhetoric of change but to act as a change agent. If the hope that he has inspired is to grow instead of becoming a collective canker, he must show that he is willing to challenge, at least inasmuch as he can, the imperialist and capitalist nation that he will soon lead. In essence, a President Obama, if he expects to live up to the expectations that he has created, must imagine a new U.S. that begins to reject America as usual.

Barack Obama was elected President of the United States because of a confluence of personal charisma, a message of hope, and a set of political and economic circumstances created by eight years of monolithic Republican rule. Under that rule, the Right made no attempt to veil its attempts to transfer as much wealth from the working people of this nation to the corporate elite of America. November 4, 2008 was a grassroots repudiation of Wall Street politics.

Barack Obama rode into the White House on a wave of angst and a deep, fundamental need of the people to believe in something greater than themselves, something tangible, something different and yet something that looked and felt familiar. Working class people (white and black, brown, yellow and red) turned out based on hope. Barack Obama, through his words, actions, and astute politicking latched onto a nascent kernel of hope and fanned it into an impressive, historical, grassroots movement not seen in this country since the Civil Rights era. To win an election based on a message of hope is an awesome spiritual, mental, and political feat. Yet, with the raising of hopes comes the raising of expectations. And having the audacity to hope and to inspire hope in others also comes with a responsibility: the responsibility of hope.

Unfortunately, Obama, an avowed capitalist, seems to have a heart of gold and a mind that is still partially colonized. To judge him for being a product of the nation in which he was raised is not helpful. Recognizing it helps us all to see that the responsibility of hope also resides with each of us. There will come a time when President Obama disappoints us. That is why it is incumbent on us, people of African descent, to use this political and spiritual moment as a time to organize our communities both as a basis for our own localized change but also as a physical, spiritual, and political support for President Obama when he inevitably stumbles.The chains of the mind, even in as inspiring a man as Barack Obama, are deep, long, solid, and largely invisible.

Fifty-two million people believed enough in Obama to go to the voting booths and vote their hopes. The day after the election the United States was still the United States. We are still at war in two nations. We still hold Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands in bondage. The unemployment rate continues to climb and the number of uninsured as well. The material nature of America did not change from one day to the next. But, anyone that has ears to hear and eyes to see or a spirit to feel could touch and taste the alteration of our perspective. The spiritual landscape of the United States radically shifted at 11:00pm EST when the last polls closed on the West Coast. At that moment, we set our feet to a new path, that if walked together, hand in hand with our new President, can lead us into a new way of being, one about which so many of us have dreamed, but one that few of us believed could even begin to happen in this lifetime.
We stand at a critical moment in our black history. Barack Obama owes a debt of hope to the people of this nation. His actions must begin and end with lifting up the least of us. Anything less is a betrayal of the inspiration and feeling that sent him to the White House. Yet, it is also our responsibility, We the Hopeful of these United States, to commit ourselves to living and being in a way that promotes freedom, builds and strengthens our black families and our communities, and helps, supports and holds lovingly and critically accountable Barack Obama.

We shall overcome. Today.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

On Being Strong

I have been missing David pretty fiercely lately. As I have explained it to anyone that will listen is that when I was a kid I never cried because I missed my Mom. I wasn't the kid who cried when he went away to camp. I embraced life's adventures. I loved going places and seeing the world...even if I were just going up the street. I rarely looked back, because I knew, without a doubt, that home was always behind me and I could turn around when I needed to and go back there for healing or sustenance.

I cried when the bus pulled away from Port Authority last Monday.

I cried on Friday afternoon for no other reason than I was missing David. My life is wonderful right now. I have food to eat. I am moving into a new beautiful house next week. I have a beautiful and loving boyfriend. My job is pretty cool. I have made some great new friends here in the Bay. My heart feels extremely full. And, at times, it feels as if my heart is breaking from abundance. Writing this, I feel as if I am being truly ridiculous and childish. Woe is me that I have someone that loves me, that wants to be with me, that sees me and loves the hell out of me.

The truth is that this, again, is all new territory. Hallelujah that I love someone enough that I cry because they are not here. Hallelujah that the roughest thing going on in my life right now is that I can't find my house key in my dirty ass bedroom and that my man is far far away and I can't see him as much or as often as I would like.

Woe is me. Right?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On the Occassion of a Victory, a New Poem

On the Occasion of A Victory
For President Elect, Senator Barack Obama

Stand up you children of Sankore and Songhai!

the Middle Passage is closed and the whips laid by!
Stand up lost children from your watery graves!
the time has come to let loose your chains!
Stand up you dead in unmarked graves!
Stand up you sons and daughters of slaves!

Stand up at the dawn of this new day!
Stand up and let your joy proclaim
a new life
a new vision
a new way!

Stand up and protect what our fight has made!
this battle has raged through blood and pain
we shall overcome will be we have overcame
Stand up what has won can be taken away!

Stand up!
Stand up!
Stand up!

-Brandon Lacy Campos
-Oakland, CA
-November 5, 2008

One Liner of the Week Award

The One Liner of the Week Award, this week, goes to Mervyn Marcano and his unnamed friend. Last night, Mervyn received a text that said, "They wouldn't give us 40 acres and a mule. So we took 50 states and the White House."

That, is the statement of a lifetime.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


To Senator Barack Obama:

On behalf of myself, my family, and all my ancestors that went before us. Thank you. Congratulations. And may God bless and protect you. This is the people's doing by the will of God.

Thank you for having the courage to put yourself forward. You have a responsibility now to the hope that you have inspired in all of us. Please do not let us down.




It's Heading Towards a Landslide

Fuck me two ways until Sunday and double fuck me then. Barack Obama is not only changing history, he is changing the electoral map of the United States! I am projecting a win of at least 295 electoral votes.

Democracy Today

I was raised in Minnesota. As long as I have been alive, Minnesota has had the highest voter turn out in the country, and it has continued to increase general election after general election. In my neighborhood back home, the question wasn’t, “Did you vote,” the question was, “When did you vote?”

Never in the 13 years that I have been an eligible voter, have I ever seen lines such as the ones I have seen today.

I am on my way to my co-worker Mervyn Marcano’s spot to have a Black Family Reunion viewing of the election returns. Since we are proud black folks, I volunteered to stop and pick up the fried chicken. God Bless Church’s, amen.

Across the street from Church’s Chicken on Park Boulevard is the Park Theater, which, tonight, is doubling as a polling place. The line to vote at 4:45 pm wrapped around the theater, into the parking lot, up the slope and to the front door of the automative supply store hundreds and hundreds of yards from the entrance to the theater.

There is hardly a street corner in Oakland that is not peppered with individuals waving signs advocating their positions on a number of statewide propositions: most notably Prop 4--which seeks to roll back the rights of women by requiring parental notification before a teenage woman can receive an abortion and Prop 8---which seeks to alter the California State Constitution to enshrine bigotry and hatred by removing the right of queer folks to marry. Violence over Prop 8 has sprung up across the state, largely as hate filled Prop 8 advocates have PHYSICALLY attacked LGBT folks and their allies going so far as smashing Yes on 8 signs into cars and ripping signs out of front yards. Apparently speech is only free when it is hate filled.

There is so much at stake today. And, because of the hegemony of the United States, not just for those of us that live here but for the entire world.

Voting for my History

This morning, I sat bolt upright in bed at 6:30am. This morning felt like Christmas morning, every nerve ending screaming for me to get in the shower. Except, this morning, I wasn’t excited about getting a pile of gifts; I was excited about getting one giant gift--a new president of the United States Specifically, and to be completely transparent, what got me out of bed this morning was the opportunity to cast my vote for Barack Obama.

This morning, as I raced down Holman Road, cut quickly over on Grosvenor, and then bolted up Underhills, I was racing towards history. As I uncapped my pen and filled in the arrow next to Barack Obama’s name, I was voting for myself, my Great-Aunt Sis, my Great-Granda Juanita, her mother Loma, and all of the Haynes-Lacy family that survived slavery to make my life possible. I voted this morning for Jason Strother, Jr. and Shayla Zoerink--my niece and nephew.

This was a historic election year. Not only was Barack Obama on the ballot but so were Cynthia Mckinney and Rosa Clemente--two black women heading a major U.S. party ticket (and do not get it twisted, the Green Party with hundreds of elected members across this country IS a major party despite the best efforts of the Republicans and Democrats). If this were a true democracy, I may have cast a different vote today. But, in the end, it wasn’t just about voting for a progressive person of color--it was voting for a progressive person of color and then having the opportunity to watch that person walk into the White House as President of the United States of America.

This today was about history and victory. Will Mr. Obama bring the radical change that I dream about? Probably not. Have McCain and Palin with their far left and socalist red baiting opened the way for Obama to be much more progressive than if he had been forced to play the middle of the road character that Bill Clinton did in the 90s? Hell yes. Will he take the opportunity? I sure as hell hope so.

I am still proudly a Green. As a matter of fact, I am now a registered member of the Green Party of California. But, today, I was not voting just for myself I was voting for the black mother and her son that entered the poll as I was leaving. The woman had a huge smile on her face when she looked at me and said, “Today is an exciting day.”

This is my fourth presidential election. Never have I ever seen people smiling as they went to the polls. Never have I seen the every day working person proud of a candidate for the nation’s highest office. Never have I seen children bouncing down the street singing about a man that, as of poll close tonight, be the next President of the United States.

If Obama wins, our work will be harder than if he loses. If he wins, all the forces of oppression that live freely in this nation will array themselves against all of us that believe that justice is the moral imperative and not a misguided belief in the divinity of money or the religiosity of hate. We will see an organized resistance that, unless we are able to maintain and strengthen the multi-racial, multi-class coalition that Obama has been able to tenuously forge, will rip this country apart in its effort to break us.

We will not be broken.

Today is for Juanita, Druscilla, Loma, Big Sam, my Dad, my brothers and sister, my nieces and nephews, and for all of those that did not survive that did not make it that did not wake up today to see this possibility with their own eyes.

Lullaby (A New Poem) and GO AND VOTE!

Today is Election Day. Get your ass up and vote. Now.


Rage sweet child at the pins and needles morning
the Boogy Man has gone to bed
tip-toe quietly down the broken hallway
to the lying mirror
through the looking glass is your salvation
two swift jagged pathways
to Never Never Land

Rage sweet child at the treasure map on your back
switch ink tattoo
marking the spot where Captain Hook
found his lost boy
buried his payload
while you whispered a pirate’s oath to never ever tell

Rage sweet child at the jacknife lullaby
hussh Mama is sleeping
her neck smile redly weeping
she called you her prince
but your salty kisses can’t wake her
weep so so softly
or Charming may hear you

Rage sweet child there is no such thing as innocence
Peter Pan has AIDS
there is genocide in the Land of Oz
Tinkerbell is dead
clapping won’t resurrect the light ripped from her chest
the grim tales have no ending

Rage sweet child for what is taken from you
Rage sweet child for what is forced on you
Rage sweet child for what you carry with you

Rage sweet child dream a better world.

Good night.

-Brandon Lacy Campos
-New York, NY
-November 2, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Much Love to You Jennifer Hudson

My love, thoughts, and prayers go out to Jennifer Hudson and her family. Of young stars in the world, Miss Hudson has taken her stardom with grace and humility. Only America Ferrera has shown a similar character. The tragedy and violence that has characterized Jennifer's family is not unique. Unfortunately, it is the type of violence that visits so many of our black families. Jennifer has the additional burden of having to navigate her grief in public at a time when she should be able to relish a stardom that has been marked by hard work and commitment.

As one artist to another, my love goes out to you. May God grant you peace and understanding and guide your family to rest.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Comedy of Errors

Last week was a pure comedy of errors moment. On Wednesday, I left work to have lunch with my friend Mike. Now, I had been feeling slightly unwell earlier in the day, but it was nothing to blog about. During lunch my slightly unwell feeling exploded into a Linda Blair moment. After the second time my head spun around and I lobbed pho into the porcelain jaws, I decided that I should probably head home for the day.

I had, previous to making the decision to head home, sent a message to my co-worker Chris saying that I was not feeling well but would be back in the office. I followed that up with a text saying that I was going to head home. She never got the text. And thus it began.

On the way home, I lost my cellphone and my ID due to an unzipped side pocket on my travel bag. So was the stage set for an unsuspecting Brandon to find himself at the core of a coast-to-coast electronic manhunt.

Last Thursday morning, I sent an email to the office saying that I was still ill and would not be in. My roommates were gone for work for the day, and so I had only email to use to communicate to the office. Unfortunately, I had left the power cord for my Mac at the office and later that morning when I returned to consciousness to email my boyfriend, I discovered that my Mac was dead. I then tried to plug my old laptop into the DSL line, but it refused to access the Internet (Josh’s friend came to our house and “changed the settings” on the internet and now none of us can get on the internet with our computers via the wireless router and only my Mac is able to access the internet when plugged directly into the modem). I knew that David would probably be losing his mind wondering what was going on with me, but since I had emailed work that morning, I figured that work was peachy keen. Or, to be more precise, I didn’t think about work at all.

I was at home, with the flu, with no phone, and no internet access. For all intents and purposes I was living in the mid-21st century in rural Alabama.

Later that day, around 3:00pm, I heard a pounding on the front door. Since I was snug in my bedroom and half awake, I rolled over, grabbed a pillow, covered my head, and mentally commanded the Jehovah’s Witnesses to go away. If only I had answered the door, I would have found two distraught co-workers. Instead, I slipped into fretful dreams of Kingdom Hall.

I rose occasionally for the rest of the day to vomit, eat something, and pee. I also checked to see if Josh or Tony had come home. Finally, around 9pm, I turned off my light and went to sleep only to be awakened within an hour by the sound of CeCe, my neighbor from across the street, knocking on my door.


“What girl, I am asleep.”

“Your co-worker is out here and everyone is looking for you!”

“What are you talking about?”

“No one has heard from you for a day.”

“That is crazy. I will be right out.”

I got out of my bed to find Mervyn, my beloved girl pal from work, and my roommate Tony looking distraught. It turns out that the office never received my text nor my email, and David had called looking for me. Basically, CMJ turned into the Bloodhound Gang detective agency, and I was the mark. Turns out that my loving co-workers, had basically started a chain reaction that reached out and touched most of my friends across the country. People from the Bay to NYC to Atlanta were calling and emailing trying to find out where I had gone.

I have never felt so loved in my life. Today, I received an email from MAC--an amazingly brilliant human being that I can joyously add to my list of powerful female-bodied persons from whom I have learned and will continue to learn much. MAC was not pleased. She was not pleased with my lack of communication, and she was absolutely right. I will most likely, as a result of this situation, lose some of the amazing flexibility that we have at CMJ in terms of working from home or from alternative locations. I think that is fair. What else is fair is the way that MAC goes about discipline. I am not happy to have to have created a situation where discipline is necessary. But I have also never been given a voice in coming up with a solution to a situation that values who I am in toto.

And to all of you that were concerned, that reached out to make sure I was ok, I say to you thank you and I love you.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I feel as if I am standing at a crossroads right now. I have a wonderful man named David Berube. He loves me. He, usually, understands me and honors where I have been. We have had some issues, and once or twice I have been stung pretty deeply, but that happens in relationships.

We don’t live near one another. As a matter of fact, we are almost as far away from each other as we possibly can be and still be in the continental United States. I am in the Bay, and he is in NYC. Based on both of our ways of being, based on being real about how we operate in the world, and being real about distance, we have decided to have an open relationship.

Now, in general, I am a very sexually liberated person….at least I thought I was. But when you throw love in the mix, and then when you add a history that does not include basically any healthy relationships, and then when you add to that a core belief that revolves around abandonment and loss of love, and you have a mix that is crazy making.

Oh did I mention that one of my gifts/curses from having grown up basically getting my ass beaten on a daily basis is that I absolutely know when someone is lying and/or is being less than truthful (even when it is not malicious). So I can probably pinpoint with laser precision accuracy when David is planning on getting some play…and even though it is totally acceptable, even though I know without a doubt he loves all of me, even though I know that it is possible to separate sex from emotions, even though I know that that we are 3,000 miles apart he spends a good chunk of his day thinking about me, communicating with me, and loving me in multiple ways…the thought of him with someone else makes me want to scream. My heart aches when I know it is going on. And this is all my shit that I have to carry, live with, learn to deal with, and learn to let go without making David’s life crazy.

God help me and everyone around me.

One of the ways I deal with what I am feeling is to externalize those thoughts and feelings. Poor David that one of the things my blog readers live for is to read about my internal crazy. To my credit, I am doing the best I can with the history I have. Part of the problem is that I have no patience with myself. When there is a disconnect between what I feel and what I believe, and I am unable to immediately and actually bring what I feel and what I believe into alignment, I go down some pretty self-destructive paths. No one in the world is as self-critical and self-flagellating as I am when I get into this place.

The fact is that I love David Berube. I love him in a stupid way that I did not know was possible for me. I love him for who he is, for what he brings to the world through his art, and for loving me. Does he have flaws, yep. Are things always good? Nope. Do I process like a lesbian and is he such a stereotypically gay man that sometimes I just don’t understand how to work through issues with him. Oh. Goodness. Yes.

In the past, I would have run away so far and so fast you would have that the Flash passed by. But I can’t run from David. He is the first thing I think about in the morning. I dream about him at night. And I think about him before I go to bed. I am standing at a crossroads that I have never seen before. I have no experience to lead me or guide me. I am confused. I am scared. I have a great man by whom I would like to not only do right but do righteously by. All I can keep doing is walking the path and make my choices based on what I feel for him and not the hurt and fear that is so comfortable.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Dow Jones Industrial Average Scares Me

So, for the most part, the DowJones Industrial Average is just a number that I hear about now and again. I might bump into it online or in the newspapers. I might run into it casually as I am listening to NPR. But, in general, Dow and have little to say to each other. We hang out in different circles. In general, I don't think about Mr. Jones. Since I am forced to live in this capitalistic world, I have a passing concern in the health of Mr. Jones, but though there are occasional coughs and sneezes, I have never worried to much about him.

That is until the last week when the Dow needed a 700 billion dollar shock to the heart and is still having wild palpitations. As a matter of fact, Mr. Jones seems to be suffering from the same genetic disease that offed his Grandfather on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929. The fact that October 29th is fast approaching and the market has already lost more in terms of points in a single day than it ever as in history has me thinking about my life.

As I sit, day by day, watching the imminent collapse of the American financial system and, consequently, the collapse of the world financial system, I have been forced to wonder what I am going to do once the grid goes down and we are forced into hunter gatherer societies and our cities are transformed into concrete and steel jungles. Basically, without a computer, all of my skills are for naught. Basically, I will be forced into being a fisherman, or the oldest profession: ho.

I think I will go with being a ho. The payout is much better and you don't walk around with fish scales stuck to your eyelids all day.

Capitalism is a bitch. Our collective quest for higher profits without any regard for the human experience and justice has led us directly to the doorstop of a very dark dark future. And in that future, you can find me working the corner of Broadway and Telegraph in Downtown Oakland.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Something Different

My world is full of conflicting emotions right now. My spirit is heavy with the loss of my cousin. At the same time, my feelings around my relationship with David have me, at times, walking on clouds. The capability of the human psyche and spirit to process and feel a breadth of emotions at the same time is not only amazing it is terrifying.

I can honestly say that in this current relationship, I feel as if I have a friend. Our relationship started in a very new millenium way. We met via Facebook. My friend Bryan from Minneapolis e-introduced us. We started by talking about art, our lives, and sex. Oh yes there was much of that. After a while, it seemed that there was a mutual respect and a mutual desire for something more than what one typically finds in a relationship just moving through the world. There is an intentionality to our relationship that is reflective of the intentionality of my relationships with some of my best friends. From the beginning we have more or less communicated truthfully and honestly (there have been some stumbling blocks on both sides). Our relationship was one that necessarily, because of distance and our mode of meeting, was based on an psycho-emotional exploration.

Meeting David for the first time was one of the oddest experiences of my life.

When he walked into the airport in Minneapolis, his body was a stranger. I mean...I had "seen" his body, but I knew his mind. The first trip was as much about figuring out how we interacted to figuring out the connection between his mind and body. When he left after his first trip to see me, we both had tears in our eyes.

This last trip was a scary, amazing, challenging, and ultimately confirmed for me that I had not only made a new friend but also a great lover and someone that I truly want to see thrive and grow and achieve his dreams. And I know that he feels the same way about me. I mean I fundamentally know this in a way that I have not known in the past or not allowed myself to believe.

There is a lot to still figure out. The physical distance is not as important a factor for me. That can be dealt with in time and with planning. We have an open relationship, which, I think, is going to need more discussion and negotiation and patience with each other as we figure out how that is actually going to work for us. And, frankly, loving someone deeply and in a way that is about him as much as it is about me, is not something I am used to doing. Kjersten used to call me an IRA (I require attention), and I still do. But I also require that the universe bring good things to a good man that has come into my life, I hope, for good.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Seeing Frida

This is the poem I wrote for David for his birthday. It was inspired by a visit today to the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Seeing Frida
For David Berube for his birthday y para amor.

In the belly of Frida
I hear an echo of the first time
You said “I love you.”
Little nips (piquetas) into my chest
Those three words changed everything
Like Frida
I sat beside myself
My heart moved outward floating in the air
Connecting body and spirit by fragile veins
You my Diego Rivera
Standing tall beside me
Holding my hand
The veins pierce my throat
I find it hard to breathe with you there
It’s surreal surrounded by her self-portraits
I see myself in her
She found it hard to believe in love
Or believe that love
Could twist and turn and arch like the mistress
In Diego’s arms
Like Frida
I pour out through my eyes the memory of that first I love you
My cock hardening
My breath catching
Hoping that the lust I have seen in you for others
Will, from time to time, eclipse I love yous of the mind
Paint me I love yous of the body
On my canvas
On my all too willing brush
It remembers the first taste of your palette
Soft, wet shadings as I nervously prepared for the first stroke
Laying in your arms my heart cracked
Little nips torn out by honesty
Little nips that felt like a pole pushing through me
Like Frida
Laying in traction
Not knowing the depth and impact
Until attempting to rise
Until attempting to paint again
In the end Frida and Diego stood side by side
As they painted
And here surrounded by Frida,
I can see the ghost of Diego’s love in her eyes.

-Brandon Lacy Campos
-23 September 2008
-Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Avenue of the Giants

Avenue of the Giants
For David Berube

My spirit sings the song of the redwoods
Cracked notes like deep red bark that has seen years that stretch
Reaching, straining/splitting meaning
Giving depth and shading to every whisper every sighing of the wind
Photosynthesizing and manufacturing interpretations
Warped by grooves and trenches carved deep under the surface
By momentary vines
Bold enough to climb the branches
Brave experiences knotted into the warp of its being
Deep rooting parasites
Leafy green masking diabolical intent
They live and breathe the life of the redwoods
Davidian warriors they fell giants
Lay low red hearts that beat with the rhythm of centuries
Bore holes into helpless skin
Digesting flesh reasoning that in the end
Even the greatest fall
In the end even the powerful find the grave
And so the least of the least of these
strangle possibility
The powerless reaching for their only perceived choice
Consuming that which sustains them
Not knowing that the redwoods
Want only to live and grow
Willing to branch and change
Willing to reach roots into circumstance and dig deeper
Reaching beyond and behind
Reaching under and through
Reaching until breaking to a subsoil understanding
That on the other side of struggle
Is living.

-Brandon Lacy Campos
-19 September 2008
-Big Sur, California

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cousin Jimmy Final Chapter

Yesterday during the day I called my Aunt Char to check in on Jimmy. She told me that the family had decided to stop treatment and to let him move on. On the call she said that it would be days at most. It was less than five hours. At 8:20pm last night, James Wakefield, my cuz, my friend, my family left this world for whatever comes next.

My Aunt Char relayed to me that my Aunt Susie and Uncle Joe and Jim's brothers are extremely angry. I know the feeling. I have rarely felt powerless in my life. No matter what the circumstance or situation, I generally find that I have some choice. But in this, there was no choice. Jim fought and lost. And we all, from nearby or far away, could only hope and pray. Old folks say that "God always answers prayers, but sometimes the answer is no." And this time it was one hell of a no.

Plain and simple I want Jimmy back. I want to hang out with him while he makes fun my sexuality while I make fun of the fact that he was white as a snow. I want to hang out with my cousin that taught me how to ride a bike. My cousin that I stayed up late drinking with in Aunt Char's basement. I want back my cousin because he got me...we were cut from the same least the same fabric.

Yesterday I had a great lunch with David. Thank GOD David is visiting right now. But, soon after lunch, while sitting at my desk, I became so overwhelmed with such a horrible feeling that I threw up. My spirit knew that something was going to happen...when I was working for LIberty Tree, I took a test that details your strongest the top of my list was empathy...yesterday, I wanted to rip out every feeling in my body and the nerve endings along with them.

Jim decided that he did not want a funeral. The family is going to respect his wishes. There is going to be a dinner in Beloit for folks that knew Jim. There will be a gathering for family in Duluth at some point after that. I have no idea what I am going to say to my Aunt and Uncle. Any outrage, or grief, or pain, or anger that I have they can match a thousand times over.

Last night I even called my Dad. I don't think I have ever called my Dad for emotional support. But last night, I remembered that he lost his Mother to leukemia as well. She was only a year older than Jim. Dad answered the phone. And it was what I needed...or at least a part of it. The next few days are going to be rough. But I am trying to remind myself to do what I would want remember Jim, to celebrate his life, and to make sure that his work is not forgotten.

Goodbye Jimmy

My cousin Jim lost his fight with cancer today. I love you Jimmy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What Is White Privilege?

Hey folks:

As much as possible, I try and do only original content on my page. But sometimes, as with Rocki's letter and this blog post, there shit that needs circulating. The following is one of those things.

This is Your Nation on White Privilege
By Tim Wise / September 13, 2008

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll “kick their fuckin' ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was “Alaska first,” and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.

White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college--you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a “second look.”

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it a “light” burden.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain…

White privilege is, in short, the problem.

Tim Wise is the author of White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, and Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White. He has contributed essays to seventeen books, and is one of several persons featured in White Men Challenging Racism: Thirty-Five Personal Stories, from Duke University Press. A collection of his essays, Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male, will be released in fall 2008.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

An Open Letter to the HRC from Rocki Simoes

NOTE: I got this emailed letter today from my friend Rocki Simoes in Minneapolis. Rocki is one of the most brilliant, sweet, and caring people I know. She is founder of the Host Home program, and she has committed her professional career to making sure that queer homeless youth have safe places to live and are able to celebrate who they are while healing from where they have been. Thank you Rocki for your loving work and your dedication to moving us all forward together. I love you. I miss you.


As many of you know, the GLBT Host Home Program received the Brian Coyle Leadership Award from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). That award will be given at HRC's annual gala dinner on Sept. 13th. I am proud that HHP is being honored, and firmly believe that it and the community that stands behind it deserve recognition. There will be several HHP supporters there to receive the award.

I want to share with you an open letter (see below) I wrote to HRC that expresses my feelings and thoughts about this award and also explains why I will not be at the dinner on Sept. 13th. Feel free to share it with others and feel free to let me know what you think.

Sorry if you get this more than once!

Thank you so much,

Raquel (Rocki) Simões, MSW, LISW
GLBT Host Home Program Manager
Avenues for Homeless Youth
1708 Oak Park Avenue N.
Minneapolis, MN 55411
(612) 522-1690

An Open Letter to HRC

Dear Joe Solmonese and HRC Twin Cities Board of Governors,

I want to thank you for honoring the GLBT Host Home Program of Avenues for Homeless Youth with the Brian Coyle Leadership Award. I am proud of the GLBT Host Home Program and the large community that stands behind it - a community truly deserving of recognition and accolades. Thank you for wanting to put the spotlight on us. I especially want to thank Brian Gilligan for nominating our program and for being so engaged in conversations about where we go from here.

I want to share some of my thoughts and feelings regarding the Human Rights Campaign and movement building. I send this with the hope it invites an opportunity for further dialogue and for community building. Though there is excitement about receiving this award, I have also been having many conversations about how complicated this moment is. This award is personally and professionally difficult for me, and for many in the GLBT community. I cannot speak for the GLBT Host Home Program and all of its youth, hosts, volunteers and supporters on this, but I do want to let you know a bit about what I am thinking and struggling with.

In the past, I have felt that HRC has not represented me or most of my friends, colleagues and community. It has seemed that HRC has used a narrow lens from which to identify queer 'issues', a lens which rarely took in racial and economic justice. When I say “community,” I am including the youth that the GLBT Host Home Program serves, most of whom are of color and many of whom are trans-identified. I was very angry, though not surprised, that HRC decided to support an ENDA bill that was not inclusive of gender identity and expression. No matter how HRC politically and strategically justifies its decision, choosing to exclude a huge part of our community just seems so, well, wrong. I am not the most strategically savvy person around (far from it), but it has been very clear how much pain and divisiveness this decision has created in our community. I am not at all sure that a legal gain is worth a deliberately painful and problematic process. In my opinion, how we go about fighting for justice is as important, if not more, than what we get at the end.

I write this public letter as an effort to do some constructive organizing and to respectfully recognize the pain and disappointment many feel about HRC. My sincere hope is that HRC’s choice to honor this program is a sign that points to a shift in how it does organizing, a shift that is aligned with what the GLBT Host Home Program believes in and strives for - social justice and social change, for all.

Supporters of the GLBT Host Home Program, such as hosts and youth, will attend the event on September 13 to accept the award with great appreciation for the opportunity it gives us to promote the program and highlight the problem of queer youth homelessness. I am not able to attend, as I will be joining other community members at the Left Out Party, an event sponsored by the Minnesota Gender Advocates, supporting a fully inclusive ENDA.

Thank you for considering my comments and for recognizing the GLBT Host Home Program with the Brian Coyle Award. I look forward to further discussion with you.


Raquel (Rocki) Simões
GLBT Host Home Program Manager, Avenues for Homeless Youth

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The FCC Is Coming

So, two weeks ago tomorrow I started working for the Center for Media Justice. It is a kick ass organization that connects media reform and media justice to racial and economic justice. My position is the National Media Justice Organizer. Basically, I am run the national coalition, MAG-Net, which is coordinated by CMJ and ultimately, my role is to be the go to person for media justice policy. And, my colleague and boss is consciously trying to step back some within the organization and part of my job is to fill some of those national spokesperson spaces that she has previously occupied.

Now, I was very clear when I started my job that I had a strong policy background but that I did not have a strong background in media policy. I even asked for a packet of materials on media policy to be sent to me in advance of starting the job, so I could start doing some solo learning. Unfortunately, because of the transitions that were taking place before I came on board that did not happen. So, in the last two weeks, I have read hundreds of papers, notes, minutes, and articles on the policy issues with which we work. I have had, already, half a dozen meetings and as many again this week. I am just starting to get a handle on some of the most pressing media justice issues on the table right now...the primary issue of concern being the switch to Digital Television and the lack of outreach and support to low-income, fixed income, and disabled folks in the U.S. that rely on over-the-air signals for their information and news. While I have had a very solid crash course regarding the issues around DTV Transition, and I am just beginning to learn about "white spaces" and how that ties into the launch of DTV, I was neither wishing nor hoping, two weeks and a couple of days into the gig, to have to deal with a visit to the bay of the FCC!

Now in terms of the policy around which I work, it would be as if I worked around defense policy and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff showed up on your third day of work. This week, I will spend time at several FCC hearings in various communities on the transition. Thank GOD for Eloise Chen of Media Alliance. She has been the primary organizer of the various events and has deepened my understanding of the issues we are talking about. The last thing I want to do, as the national organizer for what is really the go to organization for outside the DC Beltway media justice and reform work, stand up in front of Commission Edelstein and have him realize that I don't know what the hell I am talking about.

I am loving my new job. My co-workers are a riot. My boss is no joke (she has jokes but homey DEFINITELY don't play that), and I have mad respect for her. This is an awesome place for me to grow and expand, and I look forward to it...I am even looking forward to the FCC visit...though I would have preferred if they could have September.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sarah Palin aka Satana Queen of Darkness

I just finished watching Palin's acceptance speech last night. Thank you YouTube. Let me begin by saying that the woman is smooth as shit and can deliver snappy one liners with a flair that would make Richard Pryor proud. But the more she spoke, the more I wanted to find a of those big ass mallets with a five pound rubber head...and hit that woman in the back of the throat.

I do not advocate violence against women. Let me be clear about that. But the impulse was still there.

Instead of talking about what she brings to the ticket (besides being a hockey Mom that surely does not believe in population control) or policies that she and McCain would champion...she spent her entire speech throwing zingers at Obama. At first, I found her amusing...when she made the joke that the only difference between hockey moms and bulldogs is lipstick, I laughed out loud in agreement. But when she said the after Obama finished "parting the waters and healing the world..." comment I found her not only not amusing but a iconoclastic representation of walking irony. As she railed against Obama's experience as a community organizer, she failed to recognize that the only reason she stood on that platform as McCain's running mate is that for nearly a hundred years WOMEN organizers across this country from Seneca Falls to the streets of Oakland organized for the right to vote and concurrently the right of women to hold public office. This world and this country most certainly needs an organizer.

As she closed her statements, she brought up the fact that McCain was a prisoner of war. As a person who has two siblings that have fought multiple tours of duty in the current war, I understand the weight of war on a family. But, as my colleague Oshen said, "I am a prisoner of war. I live in East Oakland." For those of us that wear brown, black, yellow, and red skins, we are and have been in a constant state of war and captivity for five hundred years.

It was amazing to me that Palin could stand in a nearly all white room and claim to be on a ticket that is working for the people and the workers of this country. It was astounding to me that she could stand in front of a room and tell bold faced lies directly to us with absolutely no remorse and without a blink of an eye.

I understand that McCain is afraid. He should be. He is going to lose this race. It is obvious from his running mate selection that he does not believe that victory is achievable. And I guess it is asking the man too much to go out with some grace. Instead, he has chosen to make this campaign about a distorted fearful reality. Republicans have used fear as a tactic for years. It is time we stood up and organized folks so that they understand that fear will not win the day on November 4th.